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Local farmers markets preparing for fall

Joe Sunderland prepares some samples for patrons at the Chapel Hill Market which is located at University Mall.  A farmer for 8 years, he works at Wild Dog Farm and hopes that the market will find a more organic location.  "A permanent location would be wonderful.  This location is good, it's not ideal, but it's good."
Joe Sunderland prepares some samples for patrons at the Chapel Hill Market which is located at University Mall. A farmer for 8 years, he works at Wild Dog Farm and hopes that the market will find a more organic location. "A permanent location would be wonderful. This location is good, it's not ideal, but it's good."

The Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market will celebrate the new season with a craft festival Saturday, with locally made jewelry, pottery, candles and lotions.

“We are really trying to focus on people who are local and making their own products, not things that are being resold” said Ali Rudel, market manager of Chapel Hill’s Farmer’s Market.

The regular vendors will be present alongside the craft sellers in the farmer’s market.

“It’s like while you’re doing your market shopping you can shop for craft too,” Rudel said.

This is one of the market’s six different craft festivals throughout the year. There will be three more markets following in December, leading up to the holidays.

Rudel said the market only sells food that is grown within 60 miles of Chapel Hill. But as the weather gets colder less produce will be sold in the winter markets.

“For the holiday season, the vendors will be bringing more gift-oriented stuff,” she said.

Carrboro chooses to welcome the new season with their annual fall festival — with cider pressing and bee-keeping.

“This event is to raise awareness for new folks who want to check out the event,” said Carrboro Farmer’s Market manager Erin Jobe. “We are also featuring fall produce, celebrating existing customers and drawing in new people.”

Visitors can join in activities organized by Kidzu Museum, a museum in Chapel Hill that aims to promote learning through play.

Kidzu Children’s Museum has participated in the festival for four years.

Tina Clossick, Kidzu director of operations and programming, said events are inspired by products and events at the market, and children also learn art skills.

The Carrboro Farmers’ Market often hosts activities such as the Fall Festival, Jobe said. This summer, the market hosted a tomato festival, followed by a big pepper festival.

Jobe said the market stays open year-round, even during winter, although the number of vendors could decrease.

“But even then, it’s still a really great time for fall and winter produce,” Jobe said. “The market stays quite full year-round.”

David Barrett, owner of Dig It Farm, a local farm that provides fresh produce in the Triangle, is a vendor in the market.

He sells his vegetables at the market every week, but this is his first time witnessing the Fall Festival.

“I don’t do anything different for the craft market, but the event promotes interest for people to participate in the farmer’s market,” Barrett said. “It really involves more of the community.”

One of Barrett’s favorite things about the market is that he gets to connect with his customers.

“The relationship between the farmer and customer is really important,” he said. “It’s great to buy something from people they know and trust.”

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